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A total makeover: how business intelligence changes the construction industry?

Have you ever had a problem you couldn’t handle until after endless hours of work? The equation you’d been banging your head against the wall trying to solve and then finally realized that one of the variables was missing… So here’s the big reveal. Business Intelligence is that variable for the construction industry. It glues all the data together and turns it into a seamless plan for achieving business goals, steadily paving the way from flaws to strengths.

Construction projects go hand in hand with a high level of uncertainty both on the client’s and the contractor’s sides, which has been typical of the industry for a long time. This uncertainty is primarily defined by clients’ unrealistic expectations and contractors’ inability to quantify the risks before trying to meet them. Contractors frequently bid on work they can’t deliver. These bids have a low likelihood of being won. Meanwhile, the effort spent on winning the bid can cost a fortune. In this case, even if the contractor is lucky enough to seal the deal, there’s little chance to live up to the client’s expectations, which will eventually result in the lack of trust in the contractor.

However, it can be changed for the better with BI implementation. Contractors get an opportunity to make a precise and error-free assessment of the scope to be executed, balancing engineering effort with the odds of not winning the bid. They have a chance to determine the risks and apportion them fairly, involving early-stage financiers and insurers.

At the same time, clients get the amount of certainty they need and can make smarter and more informed decisions, which, at the end of the day, ensures the validity of the project’s business case. Knowing the risks and being able to quantify them, clients also feel more confident about their further investments.

The odds of missed deadlines and overspendings can be lowered by breaking up a project into smaller, workable plans that the team can understand. BI solutions help to track the pipelines of current and future projects and their associated budget to plan and allocate resources effectively and identify focus areas for future growth and revenue.

Besides, seeing a project in various stages of completion allows to nip problems in the bud.

Software remains impartial and humble about what is known and unknown. It means that data analysis within a BI system estimates the costs, time, and resources way more accurately than a person will ever be able to.

Vast amounts of data used to be kept in autonomous systems and not formatted for integrated use. BI makes it possible for all the data to be integrated and analyzed altogether. You no longer need to waste time and effort on pulling the data from multiple sources and drawing it together. If this huge amount of workload is taken from your employees they can focus on more challenging tasks rather than creating PowerPoints.

Moreover, being centralized and collected in a single source, data can be, simultaneously, sliced and diced in the most coherent manner and distributed to the relevant decision-makers, thereby allowing them to react in no time to the information provided. All this information can now be accessible to the team at a click both on construction sites and in meetings.

A centralized source of data helps to avoid differences in the core information and keep the team in sync on the business processes. It eliminates finger-pointing and blaming by making the work of the company’s units and the dataflow more transparent and clearly visible. Custom dashboards demonstrate the impact of each party involved in the process. Architects, site managers, craftsmen, etc. get an opportunity to easily document their services in the system.

Any relevant individual items of information, from specific terms negotiated with suppliers to certain architectural wishes, can be combined together to build a single version of the truth.

The ability to identify key areas of strengths and weaknesses allows businesses to readily identify where they should reproduce successful aspects or employ corrective actions before it’s too late. This is crucial to those companies that have projects with mostly small profit margins. There are many aspects where intelligent software can make a difference with better data and budget tracking, analysis of materials, inventories and equipment, collaborative working environments, and cost management.

Another advantage of BI is that it allows construction companies to analyze their past projects, and with this collected information, make a decision about whether a newly offered project is suitable and potentially profitable. You can track the types of contracts the company bids, how well employees executed on each project, and see trends by area, timeframe, and job type.

Contractors can leverage the insights derived from past data to negotiate with clients and provide them with a highly probable outcome for the project. At this point, it’s much easier for both contractors and clients to come to an agreement of the most realistic deliverables of the project. So if you’re looking for a win-win situation, that’s exactly what it looks like.

Skepticism aside, Business Intelligence creates a new face of the industry, based on trust rather than subjective opinions of a few. And all the aforementioned transformations are nothing less, but components of a gigantic breakthrough the construction industry is about to make: from breaking promises to keeping them.

The article is originally posted on instinctools.com.



*instinctools is capitalising on 20 years experience in technology, strategy and data to transform how you interact with the world; delivering tailored solutions that close the gap between vision and reality.

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